Visitors to the Tweed Valley and Northern Rivers region who were hoping to climb the iconic Mt Warning in Wollumbin National Park, have been disappointed to find that the park is closed for safety reasons, due to extensive storm damage to walking and climbing tracks, and other park infrastructure, in early 2013.
Reconstruction work has commenced and is expected to take until at least the end of 2013.
The question on visitors lips is, “what is there to do instead of the climb?”
Well, that depends on why you wanted to do the climb in the first place.
For the views? To get back to nature? Experience the rainforest? The challenge?
There are lots of things to see and do in our region, other than climbing Mt Warning, and over the next few posts, we’ll bring some of the more popular, and maybe a few unusual choices, to whet your appetite.
But first, a brief description of the Mt Warning Climb.
“An 8.8km round trip walk leads from Breakfast Creek parking area and winds through ever-changing rainforest communities to eventually reach viewing platforms atop the summit. The walk is, on average, a five hour trip with the last section being very steep.
There are no facilities on the summit – camping and fires are not permitted here or in any other area of the park.” (Extract courtesy Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Mount Warning National Park)
For a more detailed description, check out “The Big Climb” by Stuart O’Neill.
So, here now are a few “local” places and other opportunities to explore during your stay, that can provide the thrill of the climb, the chance to get back to nature and experience the calm of the rainforest, and the views of the caldera, without wondering about the disappointment of missing out on the Mt Warning climb.
Art Gallery – Panorama Painting
Green Cauldron Panorama Painting Caldera Art Gallery at the Murwillumbah Visitor Information Centre, and experience the grand 360 degree view from the summit of Mount Warning Wollumbin. Surround yourself with the 20 metre long highly detailed painting – over a year in the making, and be inspired to further explore the magnificent landscapes of Australia’s Green Cauldron.
If you’re inspired by the art, then your next stop should be The Tweed River Art Gallery at Mistrel Road, which has panoramic views of the Tweed Valley including – of course, Mount Warning and volcanic ring dykes.
The gallery usually has at least one touring exhibition, and often a craft workshop or masterclass by an exhibiting artist. The gallery is home to the late Margaret Olley Art Centre and the Australian Portrait Gallery.
The Gallery Cafe has delicious local coffee and treats to enjoy as you look out over the Tweed landscape which inspires so many of our local artists and artisans.
As an alternative for views, Razorback Lookout (Google Maps location) can be easily reached by car, for the best views of Tweed Heads and the surrounding tapestry of rivers, oceans, mountains and valleys, just behind the Tweed Heads CBD.
If the physical contest of the climb was your goal, then try Razorback as a challenging walking track … “start on the beachfront at Coolangatta and finish on a high plateau in New South Wales… [a] test your fitness level!
The Walking route is along concrete paths and sealed roads [and] slowly climbs and finishes at Razorback Lookout, or officially … “Tom Beatson Outlook”. ” (Extract courtesy of Palm Beach Directory retrieved 16/04/13). More information at Palm Beach Directory – Razorback
You can also get the adrenalin pumping at Circus Arts Byron Bay (02) 6685 6566, Mountain Bike Tours (NSW) Byron Bay 0429 122 504 and Paramount Indoor Rock Climbing Centre West Burleigh (07) 5593 6919.
And if the view is the thing, then a scenic drive to Border Ranges National Park is the go for the Pinnacle walk and lookout. “Without a doubt, the journey along the Pinnacle walk to Pinnacle lookout is one of the highlights of the whole park and not to be missed.
It’s a short walk through World Heritage-listed rainforest before the track reaches Pinnacle lookout. Spectacular views include the coastline, the crater escarpment and to Wollumbin-Mount Warning.
If you’re an early riser, and even if you aren’t, it’s definitely worth making the effort to see the silhouette of Wollumbin when the sun rises – it’s a completely inspiring way to start your day in Border Ranges National Park.”
(Extract courtesy of NSW National parks and Wildife Service retrieved 16/04/13)
Or you can also check out Blackbutt Lookout.
Located a kilometre or so south of the Pinnacle Lookout, Blackbutt Lookout has some limited parking, with the wheelchair friendly lookout platform and toilet, and picnic tables and benches with great views overlooking the Tweed Valley and to Mt Warning. A convenient alternative for those who are unable to walk distances.
(Please note – Roadworks and repairs are ongoing in Border Ranges National Park, so please take note of signage and instructions.) More information at NSW NPWS Border Ranges NP.
Hope you like these options. We’ll be covering more bushwalking and rainforest experience picks in our next post.